Crispy, flavorful grilled bacon isn't just a restaurant treat anymore. With the right technique, you can achieve that perfect, golden-brown crunch right in your own backyard. The real job is choosing a quality thick-cut bacon and mastering the grill's indirect heat. Then, a touch of glaze will give you cooked bacon with delicious, golden-brown, crisp edges.
As a grilled bacon expert who started grilling bacon in my teenage years, my cookouts taught me that anyone can create a masterpiece right in their backyard. So, watch out as I share the secrets and insights that can elevate your grilled bacon game to the next level.
Here's a 10-step recipe showing how I cook bacon on the grill.
Lay out the strips of bacon on a plate or tray. If you prefer less fatty bacon, gently blot the strips with a paper towel.
Whisk together the maple syrup, Dijon mustard (if using), and black pepper in a small bowl. This glaze will add a sweet and savory dimension to the bacon.
Before starting the grill, lightly brush and clean the grill grates using a brush or paper towel. This makes sure your grilled bacon comes off the grates effortlessly.
Preheat your grill to medium-high heat (around 375°F to 400°F or 190°C to 205°C).
If your gas grill has different heat zones, create an indirect heat zone by turning off the burners on one side.
If you are using a charcoal grill, gather the burning coals to one side. Then, place the meat on the grate at the other side where you don't have (a lot of) burning coals. The indirect zone cooking ensures the bacon slices cook evenly, and you can control cooking. It also provides that the bacon grease doesn't cause flare-ups or a grease fire.
Place the bacon directly on the grill grates opposite the grates. This is to prevent them from falling in and causing flare-ups.
If your grill has wide grates and you feel the bacon might drop in the fire, place a grill pan or aluminum foil with small holes over the grill grate before adding the bacon.
After the bacon has cooked for about 3 minutes, brush one side of each strip with the maple or honey syrup glaze.
After another 2-3 minutes, flip the bacon strips using a pair of tongs.
Next, brush the other side of the bacon strips with the remaining glaze or your favorite BBQ sauce.
Continue grilling the bacon until you get your desired crispiness. Flip them occasionally until the edges are golden brown and crispy. This typically takes about 10-15 minutes in total.
Use tongs to remove the bacon from the grill carefully. Place them on a paper-towel-lined plate. The paper towels will help to absorb excess grease from the bacon.
After the bacon grease is done dripping, allow the grilled bacon to rest for a minute or two before serving. This lets the flavors settle, and any excess moisture evaporates.
You can serve the delicious grilled bacon as a tasty snack or side dish or incorporate it into your favorite recipes.
Generally speaking, thick-cut bacon is the best for the grill. Remember you're grilling bacon at high temperatures. Regular bacon cuts usually have a thickness of around 1/16 inches, which is relatively thin. Restaurant bacon, measuring around 1/32 inches, is even thinner. Although this means you'll get a really crisp result, you miss out on the meatiness and the deliciousness the juicy center brings.
A thick-cut 1/8-inch bacon will stand up to the medium heat of your grill or stovetop burner with finesse. The thickness of these bacon strips offers advantages beyond their robustness. They're easier to flip during the cooking process. Plus, they also ensure a consistent cook throughout. Unlike the extra-thin restaurant bacon, you'll still find meat inside after the crisp edges.
Sure, there are super thick bacon slices that measure 1/4 inch in thickness. This is not terrible for grilled recipes. But they'll need more time and may not get that crispy bacon. So it's about what you want.
However, if your bacon is procured from a particular butcher or vendor, there might be slight variations in thickness to accommodate different preferences. It's essential to remember that as bacon thickness increases, so does the required cooking time. The denser composition of thick-cut bacon necessitates a bit more time to achieve that delectable crispiness we all adore.
So, why should you grill bacon? Here are some excellent reasons:
You'll need to cook bacon on the grill for 4 to 6 minutes on each side. Overall, most times, you don't need more than 12 minutes. The recipe I shared earlier takes 10 to 15 minutes – sometimes less, depending on the thickness. Compare it with smoking, and you're looking at around three hours. In the oven, that's about 20 minutes.
I'd say it's better to grill bacon than to sear it in a frying pan. Bacon has a high-fat content – 3 grams of total fats per slice, 1 gram of which is saturated fat. When you cook bacon on the pan, you need to add additional oil, which you can avoid with the grilling method.
As I mentioned earlier, you may need aluminum foil if the grates are too wide, and the bacon slices can fall into the coals. But while aluminum foil can be helpful, there are alternatives, such as baking sheets. These offer versatility for indoor and outdoor grills. The sheets stop bacon drippings, shield the meat from direct flame exposure, and preserve its succulence for a mouthwatering finish.
Grilled bacon is not a complex procedure, as you have seen. When you choose the right quality and thickness, the result is a very crispy one. It also has a sweet, smoky, and salty flavor. Whether you're a grilling enthusiast or a complete starter, crispy grilled bacon is within reach for everyone. So, try this and enjoy the sizzle of success with every savory bite.